What Are We Waiting For?

By Corbin Tobey-Davis

This is Part 2 of a conversation by three young progressive pastors on the meaning of Advent. Read Part 1 here.

There is a captivating nature to Advent and the Christmas season. From the idyllic holiday films to the sound of Christmas carols rolling in the stores we shop in, we are pulled in and through some conscious and unconscious liturgical dance. 

Like our friend Ebenezer we move amidst shadows of Christmas past, present, and future. Laden and gifted with past memories, reality, and potentiality.

And like Scrooge we encounter (either with awareness or with ignorance) ethical dilemmas.  As Christians we know our story does not end in the fulfilled promise of an extraordinary birth, it culminates in state-sponsored murder and stories of betrayal.

Thus this waiting encounters us in the beyond of Advent, it envelopes us in the larger narrative of Jesus and the creation and response of a people who call themselves Christians.   Thus the scope of the Jesus event posits a unique role of interpreting the "waiting" of Advent. 

Is it not the waiting and preparation that draws us even closer to the very impulse of that which we are waiting and preparing for?

In essence, Advent calls us to this question:  What are we waiting for?

As we wait this season let us carry with us the larger scope of our waiting and the role of our personal faith as lived history.

What might we say of the abundance of food given during the holiday season?  Do we celebrate the communal sharing or do we lament the lack of this abundance during the rest of the year?

Do we celebrate the commercialization of Christmas as a boost to our economy during these down times or do we question the consumerist value system that this impulse creates?

As we enter into this time of waiting that is Advent, let us delve into an exploration of our praxis of faith that is grounded in engagement with spiritual practice. 

Dance the waiting.
Paint the question.
Write the waiting.
Drum the question.
Sing the question in its waiting form.
Pray the question seeking space to wait for the answer.
What are you waiting for?

Corbin Tobey-Davis is a recent graduate of Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California.  He is currently in-care with the United Church of Christ and is pursuing ordained ministry.  His many passions include youth ministry, cultivating interfaith connections, and justice work.